“Arts center, located in a rehabilitated early 20th Century building in Northern Virginia, with enough room for over 100 artists.”
The Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, right?
Yes, but folks in Lorton can now proudly raise their hands to that description too. We’re talking the Workhouse Arts Center. Located on the site of the former Lorton rehabilitation facility (1906-2001), the center is operated by the Lorton Arts Foundation. Local artists and their galleries occupy the adapted Colonial Revival brick barracks.
Opened in 2008, the historic buildings also hold classes and workshops. The biggest building is still being worked on, and will hold a 900-person Event Center.
Although only a handful of artists were there, we had an excellent time. Two interpretive markers document some of the history. One mentions baseball was the primary form of recreation. The other shows Snowden Ashford (1866-1927), the District of Columbia’s municipal architect who designed the prison. Inmates built a four-mile long railroad to and from Occoquan.
A bronze marker honors suffragettes, who were imprisoned at Lorton in 1917. (I will post something separate on this.)
We visited this historic district before, but this time had time to notice the lovely historical markers, some of which have old photos. This is a great way of presenting history.
One can’t miss place is the country store. As you enter the town, your will see on the left. Always curious about prior usage, I asked about this one. One of the staff said a local man built it ten years ago.
Now that is some kind of wonderful!